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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cooking for the summer season.

Here in the South, we always get a little hint of summer at the end of February. This year has been no exception. Several days last week we had temperatures in the mid seventies. The sunshine, perfect blue sky, and budding green grass hints at the long, lazy days of summer to come. It also serves to remind me, it’s time to buckle down, exercise and really concentrate on eating healthy, so I can fit into my swimsuit without being embarrassed. I do try to eat healthy all year long, but there’s something about knowing I’m about to enter into swimsuit and short season that makes me really concentrate on sticking to my healthy ways.

As I sat in the park the other day and watched my kids frolic in the grass and run without restraint, hair flying off their faces, grins displaying their happiness, I made a list of some quick, healthy recipes to try. Today, I bring to you one recipe my children and husband especially loved. I loved it, too. It was quick, easy, and inexpensive to make. This recipe is from the May 2008 issue of Cooking Light Magazine.

Classic Italian Panini with Prosciutto and Fresh Mozzarella

Total Time: 21 minutes

1 (12 ounce) loaf French bread, cut in half horizontally
¼ cup reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh asil
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded fresh mozzarella cheese, divided
2 ounces very thin slices prosciutto
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
Cooking spray

Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a ½ inch thick shell: reserve torn bread for another use. Spread 2 tablespoons mayonnaise over cut side of each bread half. Sprinkle basil and ½ cup cheese on bottom half of loaf. Top evenly with prosciutto, tomato slices and remaining ½ cup cheese. Cover with top half of loaf. Cut filled loaf crosswise into four equal pieces.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sandwiches to pan. Place a cast-iron or other heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten sandwiches. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted (leave cast-iron skillet on sandwiches while they cook).

Yield: 4 servings
Calories: 316 (30% from fat)
Fat 10.6g

Hope you enjoy it. We are all going to look fabulous this summer!

Julie Johnstone
The Marchioness of Mayhem


  1. You had me at panini :) Yummy looking recipe, and I too enjoyed the summer like days this past week. Looking forward to the true return of warm weather soon!

  2. Me too, Erin! Try this recipe. I think you'll love it!

  3. I'm glad someone's enjoyed the warmer temps. LOL. I think there is a problem when you have to run the A/C in February. Something is just wrong about that. But the recipe sounds great!

  4. Catherine,
    It is weird to need the ac in February. I was trying to fight in and just open up the windows, but my youngest complained that it was too hot to sleep. I shut those windown and cranked that ac on for him.